Jepchirchir arrives to heroes welcome as she announces plans to set new mark in the full marathon

Saturday, August 14th, 2021 00:00 |
Sports Principal Secretary Joe Okudo (left) welcomes Olympic marathon gold medallist Perez Jepchirchir after she arrived from Tokyo, Japan. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

Newly crowned Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir will be plotting on how to attack the World record over the 42 kilometres race.

Jepchirchir, the Half Marathon world record holder last Saturday clocked 2:27:20 for gold as the current world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei came home second to take silver in 2:27:36 with Molly Seidel of USA bagged bronze in 2:27:46 in the just concluded Olympic games.

Speaking on Friday morning after Sports Principal Secretary Joe Okudo hosted her and her colleagues, to a breakfast at the Ole Sereni Hotel, Jepchirchir says she will in future try to break the world record.

“It will be gradual for me, my target first is to get to 2:15 before I think of 2:14.

I go back home to rest and plan for the season ahead,” said Jepchirchir who was accompanied by Kosgei and and Boston marathon winner Lawrence Cherono who finished fourth in the men’s race.

Unlike most of other team Kenya athletes who returned home from Tokyo to a low key reception, Thursday night was different for Jepchirchir and co who were welcomed home to song and dance by Kenya Utamaduni dancers and in the presence of government officials.

“We shouldn’t compare ourselves with what is happening in other countries. We should not fight or engaged in a war of words because of such things as big or small reception.

We should all be grateful for what God has done to us, and that is what matters,”urged Jepchirchir who  was a late inclusion in Kenya’s team for the 42km race having replaced Vivian Cheruiyot who was in the initial team that was named by Athletics Kenya last year.

On her inclusion in the marathon team, Jepchirchir was indebted.

“I can say I am very lucky to have been included in the team for the Olympics.

First, it is a dream come true to participate at the Olympics and secondly it came as a surprise for me to be called upon since the team had already been selected. Winning the race is not something I had imagined,” she added.

The 27-year-old attributed her inclusion to the marathon team on her record-breaking heroics last year that saw her lower the women’s only half marathon world record at Prague in September. She clocked 1:05:34 erasing the previous record of 1:06:11.

At the 2020 Valencia Marathon she clocked an impressive 2:17:16 to scale to fifth in the all-time world list, she strongly feels she can do better.

“I know only four ladies are ahead of me in the marathon and maybe six in the half marathon where my time in 65 minutes.

I will be working hard to join the few ladies who have attained 64 minutes,” concluded Jepchirchir who trains in Kapsabet, Nandi County,  -Amos Abuga

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